Lessons in Leadership from Sir Clive Woodward – and our former clients
Our new BCMS headquarters in Kingsclere was officially opened this week by a special guest, Sir Clive Woodward. He is, of course, the man who guided England to Rugby World Cup glory, and our Olympic Athletes to the London 2012 games. As part of the day, he delivered an intelligent, insightful and thought-provoking talk on the overlap of sport and business, and the techniques he has developed. No kidding, this was inspirational stuff from a man with a brilliant track record. (And I say that as a humbled Welsh rugby man, and as England Coach he has an 89% winning ratio against us!)
The key principle for Clive (he told us not to call him Sir!) is that successful teams – whether on the field, or in the office – are built on shared values, goals, and team rules. Leaders must lead, yes, but the guys on the ground need to contribute and take full responsibility too.
Later on, we invited Clive to a celebratory dinner with 42 of our former clients. We call these our BCMS Fellows – business owners who have successfully sold a business and moved on to new adventures. The energy in that room was incredible, and they swapped war stories and shared experiences of the business sales process. What was particularly encouraging is how many described us, their advisors, as ‘partners’, ‘colleagues’ and even 'life-long friends' – and actually thanked us for helping them move on.
“I was your most reluctant seller ever,” said one. “You really held our hands,” said another. So many have embraced new roles, new ventures, or new businesses. “I am still a workaholic,” one former client told us. “But I am reformed!”
Like Sir Clive, these entrepreneurs offered some clear lessons in leadership: how to make brave decisions, bold moves, look to the future, and embrace change. It was a brilliant reminder why we do what we do at BCMS, and why I love this job.